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Sunday September 23rd 2018

Kal Ho Naa Ho | 2003

Kal Ho Naa Ho filming location: East 22nd Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn
Kal Ho Naa Ho location: the Kapur house: East 22nd Street, Flatbush, Brooklyn | Photograph: Google Maps

Aman (Shah Rukh Khan) breezes into the lives of his Brooklyn neighbours like a butch Pollyanna, bringing joy and optimism but he has a secret of his own. About a third of the way through, the broad family comedy-drama takes a sudden, unexpectedly darker turn – but that's not going to get in the way of the singing and dancing.

The local neighbourhood is Brooklyn, where the home of Naina Kapur (Preity Zinta) and her stressed-out family is 679 East 22nd Street at Farragut Road in Flatbush.

Kal Ho Naa Ho filming location: Church Publick, Reade Street, Tribeca, Manhattan
Kal Ho Naa Ho location: the pizza restaurant run by Naina's mother: Church Publick, Reade Street, Tribeca, Manhattan | Photograph: Google Maps

The failing pizza restaurant run by Naina’s mother, and turned around into ‘Café New Delhi’ by Aman, is 82 Reade Street on the corner of Church Street in Tribeca, Manhattan. Now it’s actually 'quaint, rustic-chic gastropub' Church Publick.

Naina meets up with best pal Rohit (Saif Ali Khan) at Water’s Edge Restaurant, 401 44th Drive, Long Island City, with those terrific views of the Manhattan Skyline across the East River. Opened in 1980 on a barge in the East River, the restaurant unfortunately closed at the end of 2015, but given such a prime location, there’s bound to be something else there soon.

Kal Ho Naa Ho filming location: Old Westbury Gardens, Long Island
Kal Ho Naa Ho location: the grand Patel family mansion: Old Westbury Gardens, Long Island | Photograph: iStockphoto © Jim Lopes

The ‘Patel’ mansion is Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Road, the Phipps Estate, a few miles south of Glen Cove, Long Island. The estate – which is open to visitors – can be reached from Westbury Station, on the Long Island Railroad, from New York’s Pennsylvania Station.

The interior, looking significantly more palatial than when Van Damm (James Mason) took over the place to confront Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, was needless to say recreated in the studio. The estate is also seen in Ridley Scott's 2007 epic American Gangster, Love Story, Cruel Intentions, and Wolf, among others.

The exterior of the 'Nirvana' disco, where Frankie DJs and Naina leads a dance number after getting squiffy on shots, is actually luxury hotel The Time, 224 West 49th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue in the Theatre District.

Kal Ho Naa Ho filming location: Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey
Kal Ho Naa Ho location: Aman reads from Rohit's diary: Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey | Photograph: Wikimedia / Arnold Reinhold

Aman bumps into Naina at the wonderful Waiting Room of Hoboken Terminal, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, which is also where he reads out the imaginary entries from Rohit's empty diary in one of the film's most famous scenes.

The photogenic station has been used for film shoots, including Once Upon A Time In America, Funny Girl, Three Days Of The Condor, The Station Agent, Woody Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Julie & Julia.

It was originally intended to shoot much of the film in less-expensive Toronto, Ontario, but director Nikkhil Advani felt that the essential New York 'vibe' was missing and, in the end, only part of the song Kuch To Hua Hai and the final scene were shot in the Canadian city.